Welcome to the support page for
218 Zone Controller
Here you will find all of the information that you require to get the most out of your 218 Zone Controller.
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218 Product Overview
The 218 acts as the controller unit for a single room or zone. Control is carried out over IP via the product’s Ethernet network socket or from an IR receiver plugged into the unit. The 218 carries analogue and digital inputs and outputs and includes high-quality A/D and D/A conversion. Pathways from all inputs to all outputs are supported. The 218 also acts as a Sooloos or Roon audio end-point and it supports the decoding of MQA files.
Yes. It has inputs and outputs which can pass conventional line-level analogue audio and industry-standard SPDIF digital audio.
Once IP-control is added, the 218 can act as a conventional preamp, providing source selection and volume control. However, it features additional functionality to make it much more flexible than a simple volume and source control.
The performance of the 218 is somewhere between the MS200 and the MS600 on PCM files up to 24 bit/96KHz. For a collection made up of mainly CD-quality material, the MS600 has the edge on the 218 by virtue of its superior power supply circuits, digital signal processing and output stages.
96kHz, 24 bit.
There is no practicable limit as long as the network is capable of dealing with the traffic derived from multiple devices.
The unit features a high-quality linear PSU and is powered via a “clover-leaf” mains lead (supplied with the product).
In some systems, video processing causes video to be delayed in relation to the audio. This appears unnatural, adversely affecting the viewing and listening experience. The 218 allows the sound to be delayed, compensating for this effect, to realign the audio with the video.
Some equipment introduces delay to video signals fed through it. Processes such as scaling can cause this. Lip Sync allows a delay of up to 85 milliseconds to be added to the audio signal to correctly align the sound and picture. However, if the converse is happening and audio is delayed relative to video, i.e. sound is behind the pictures, Lip Sync cannot be used to rectify the problem.
Unwanted delays can be problematic in multi-zone systems which include a mixture of one of more zones using EBA-capable Meridian DSP loudspeakers and one or more zones using analogue loudspeakers. This stems from the fact that EBA introduces a delay to audio through the Meridian loudspeakers. In such systems, if two of the differing types of zone are linked so that they play material simultaneously, the delay on the Meridian loudspeakers may be noticeable if the listener is positioned where they are able to hear sound from more than one zone type. Having the analogue-speaker zones fed by 218s allows LipSync to be used to add delay to align the sound in these zones to the sound from the Meridian loudspeaker zones.
Any 218s used within Sooloos systems will receive this software update automatically as part of a general Sooloos software update. No additional procedures are required. Any 218 which is not being used within a Sooloos system can be updated using the latest version of the Meridian Sooloos Configure program. Simply run the program on a PC connected to the same network as the 218 and the unit’s software will be updated automatically. In systems with more than one 218, all of them will be updated automatically as soon as the program sees them on the network. This update method applies to those units being used with Roon and those used as “stand-alone” controllers.
This socket is intended to allow the connection of an infra-red receiving “eye” device, such as the Meridian G12 Remote Sensor.
One possible explanation is that the 218 needs to have its IR reception enabled. This can be done via the 218 configuration web-page. Set “IR mode” to “Controller” and store the settings to the product. Note: if “IR mode” is set to “Auto”, infra-red reception will be enabled only after the unit has received a“Clear” command from the remote control via its IR receiver.
Many third-party control systems feature outputs suitable for feeding IR emitter devices (also referred to as IR “blasters”). The signals sent from these outputs are “modulated” and previously, Meridian products could not accept them on their IR inputs. However, in February 2020, firmware for the 218 was released which added the ability for the 218 to demodulate such signals.
Firmware versions from “build 218” or later support this feature (by coincidence, the build number happens to match the product name!)
The trigger can be configured to go high (12V) or low (0V) on a source-by-source basis. The socket accepts a mono 3.5 mm jack plug with the tip as the positive connection and screen as ground.
There are several methods for controlling the 218. It can be controlled via its network connection. The Meridian iPad app "IP Control" (available from the Apple App Store) provides access to all relevant functions. Third-party control-systems can control the product via its Automation Protocol. The 218 can also be controlled via infra-red if used in conjunction with an infra-red receiver device such as the Meridian G12. When used in combination with certain Meridian products, the 218 can be controlled via the Meridian "comms" system.
Although the 218 has only one pair of line-level analogue output sockets, the output is capable of driving the inputs of more than one power amplifier in parallel - providing the amplifiers have conventional high-impedance inputs. For example, all eight channels on the Meridian 258 multi-channel amplifier can be fed from one 218 to provide sound for four pairs of speakers.
The 218 has the ability to output digital audio in the form of “MHR”, a method for transferring digital audio which is proprietary to Meridian products. MHR offers improved sound quality compared to conventional SPDIF digital audio within a Meridian system. However, when a non-Meridian DAC is fed with MHR, it results in the the constant hissing sound as described in the question. All relevant Meridian products have the option is disable MHR within their settings. Once MHR is disabled, conventional SPDIF will be output from the device
Driver modules exist that enable the product to be used with various control systems.
Modules for the following systems have been created by a third-party developer/partner. To make a request for these modules, click on the relevant link:
Modules for the following control systems are available directly from the suppliers below:
Meridian Product Range Insight